Earlier today the Pittsburgh Pirates sent RHP Jose Veras to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for 29-year-old infielder Casey McGehee. McGehee primarily plays third base, and always has throughout his three-year major league career so far.
After debuting with the Chicago Cubs in 2008, McGehee was claimed off waivers the following offseason by the Brewers. After beginning the 2009 season as a reserve infielder for the Brew Crew, McGehee was inserted into the starting lineup and appeared in 116 games. In his first full season as a big leaguer, McGehee hit .301 with 16 HR and 66 RBI.
He followed up a breakout 2009 season with a 2010 campaign that saw him finish the year as the Brewers' Most Valuable Player. He edged out Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart for this honor by batting a solid .285 with 23 HR and 104 RBI.
The 2011 campaign was a disappointing one for McGehee, however, as he hit only .223 with 16 HR and 66 RBI during his 155 games. This led to the Crew's signing of Aramis Ramirez today. By signing one of the premier offensive third basemen in MLB, the Brewers made McGehee expendable.
By swapping Veras for McGehee, the Buccos have made two things clear in my mind. First, it shows that they are preparing for Pedro Alvarez to either be hampered by injury or bad play at some point this season. Second, it gives me the feeling that the hopes of re-signing Derrek Lee aren't looking so good.
McGehee can play first base, and Neal Huntington knows that. Watching the Pirates add insurance behind Alvarez as well as a right-handed bat that can play first, makes me believe that Lee won't be coming back to the 'Burgh.
Regardless of what people may think about the caliber of players that the Pirates are bringing in this offseason, it is encouraging to see them take some risks on players who could play pivotal roles throughout the 2012 season. Erik Bedard, Nate McClouth, Yamaico Navarro and McGehee will all get their chances to impact games, and I trust in the front office's decisions to bring in veterans to help guide the youngsters.
Casey McGehee adds a potentially solid bat to a lineup that needs some pop. Here's to hoping for the 2010 version of McGehee.